How Putin sows division in America
If you watched the body language of President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, at their recent summit in Helsinki, you might have wondered: Which man leads a superpower? After all, Trump represents a country that is far stronger than Putin’s Russia. This is the paradox of Russian power—Moscow is influential precisely because it’s weak.
We often take it for granted that the greater a country’s economic and military resources, the greater its influence. But more capabilities doesn’t always mean getting your way, because they inspire resistance from other countries. Sometimes David has more sway than Goliath.
At the height of the Cold War, in the 1960s and ’70s, the Soviet Union was a genuine global power, boasting the largest military in the world, a GDP about half that of America’s, and an empire stretching across Eastern Europe. Moscow wasn’t shy about using these resources to bribe, bully, intimidate, and, if necessary, topple its enemies.